Pets rely on us for protection on hot days

Freedom Newspapers

We mostly can’t complain about the summer heat so far, but that will change because temperatures are certain to nudge close to triple digits several times over the next eight weeks or so.

When the weather makes us miserable, we ask area pet owners to remember our dogs and cats are also miserable.

According to Dr. Lila Miller, vice president of veterinary outreach for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: “Even the healthiest pets can suffer from dehydration, heat stroke and sunburn if overexposed to the heat, and heat stroke can be fatal if not treated promptly.”

Miller urges pet owners to know the warning signs of heat illness, which include “excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor or even collapse.”

The warning has been issued for decades, yet some people still fail to understand the harm they can do to their pet if they leave the animal alone in a parked car. According to the Humane Society: “When the outside temperature is above 70 degrees, the heat inside your car can climb to more than 100 degrees in only minutes. Your pet can suffer dehydration, heat stroke or death.”

The Humane Society also encourages:

n Be certain outdoor pets have access to fresh, clean water at all times.

n Secure plastic water bowls, never metal, to the ground so your pet can’t accidentally tip them over. You can dig a small round hole and place the water bowls inside.

n Ensure that your pet has access to shade at all times of the day. Your dog might be in the shade when you leave for work, but the sunlight moves throughout the day.

Our dogs and cats rely on us to provide a safe environment for them to live in. In return, we receive companionship and unconditional love. We encourage pet owners to hold up their end of the bargain.